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LoveBrownSugar Turns Two!

Today, LoveBrownSugar is 2 years old! Words cannot express how appreciative I am for all your support. You guys – my readers, friends and extended family, mean more to me than anything. On this day, two years ago, LoveBrownSugar.com was born.

You guys remember this? The ORIGINAL header for LoveBrownSugar
 It started out as just a small place for me to muse about fashion, beauty, celebrities and live events. Since then, it has grown to become an outlet not just for myself but for all of you to voice your opinions, agree and/or disagree with me about celebrity looks and follow my journey in life from going natural

to going on vacay, to going crazy in the fitting room

 I absolutely love you all and LoveBrownSugar.com would be nowhere if it wasn’t for you. In celebration of this milestone, I’ll be hosting a fab 2 Year Anniversary event next Wednesday, July 6th. More details on the event coming soon, but if you’re in the NYC area (or if you will be next week), save the date!

In celebration, I’d love for you guys to comment with either a) your favorite post or b) your favorite thing about LoveBrownSugar.  
I want to keep serving up content that you guys love, so tell me what I’m doing right. You can also tweet me @LoveBrownSugar with hashtag #LBS2Year or leave a comment on the Facebook page!

Don’t Believe The Hype

Recently Coco + Creme posted a thought provoking story about a good friend of mine Gabifresh of Young, Fat & Fabulous (now renamed Gabifresh.com) and some qualms she has with the plus-size community. Subsequently after, another blogger (and one of my fave tweeters) Sarah Conley of @StyleIT posted a response. To make a long story short, both women raised interesting points about the plus-size blogging community and the idea of supporting any and everything within it. I think this topic is one to be explored, not just in the realm of plus-size blogging but in the realm of blogging/journalism and life circumstances period.

Here are my two cents (or three, or four) about the situation:

1. Blogging is personal. 

I understand that in this day and age, with the internet overpopulated and websites clamoring daily for readers’ attention, many have taken the opportunity to turn their blogs into businesses. Pageviews and comments become the sole priority for some bloggers after the initial realization that “other blogs are doing it too” and there’s potential freedom from the drone of the 9-5 in blogging. Some sites, which may have started out strictly as personal style blogs, now have online shop components (myself included – i.e. SHOP LoveBrownSugar). But at the end of the day, for most, the blogs were birthed out of personal conviction and ultimately because we LOVED what we were blogging about. What happened to that?

When did it become the standard to blog or write about something because it is the “it” thing or because you’re supposed to belong to a certain “community”? 

If mom jeans come back into style next season, guess what? I’m not blogging about them! I don’t like them, they’re unflattering on my body type and personally I think they’re hideous. Will I include them in a LBS Runway Report if Marc Jacobs starts making them? Of course! Will I ask you all if Beyonce is Fierce or Foolish for wearing them, yes! But you won’t find me sporting them on here. Or raving about them. My personal blog philosophy is: If I don’t sport, I don’t support. And that’s that.

2. Branding is a business. A full-time job actually.

Picture this for just a minute. Imagine your favorite fashion magazine of all time decided to switch directions with their content. Instead of serving up amazing, high-end glossy fashion editorial, they decided to simply have a free-for-all and invite every fashion brand with a few advertising dollars to play an integral role in the magazine. Can you imagine how sloppy and watered-down the content would be? If VOGUE decided to let K-Mart take center stage in an editorial shoot – you’d be appalled. Why? Because they have a brand, and a reputation to uphold. As an editor who works day to day at a magazine, I’ve learned that branding is everything. Your reputation can help and/or hurt you in attaining future opportunities. Bloggers (and non-bloggers alike) should be so careful about aligning ourselves with entities that don’t truly represent who we are and what we stand for. At the end of the day, your personal brand is more precious than that free sample or that $50 ad space in your sidebar. Choose wisely.

3. Integrity is everything.

Nobody likes feeling betrayed or deceived. When people put their trust in you (as a blogger, as a confidant, even as a friend!) it’s your responsibility to uphold it like it’s more precious than gold. Everything you see on LoveBrownSugar is a direct reflection of me; my thoughts and my likes/loves explored. Personally, I would rather not discuss a brand if I strongly dislike it. This goes for beauty, fashion and everything in between. That said, why should someone be expected to rave about a product or line just because they fit a certain descript or are lumped into a community? I’m a natural-haired girl and I love my natural hair but sometimes I like wigs! Yep, I said it – I do! So even though I joined the natural hair community last November, it doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to review every natural hair product and do what that blogging community does. It’s not my sole priority, and it doesn’t have to be.

I think Gabi and Sarah’s points regarding plus-size blogs and companies, address a bigger issue that we should all evaluate. How often do you sell out, or give into the hype of something because people assume you should? Bloggers, are you being honest with your readers? As an adult, are you being honest with yourself about your career path, your love interest or your friendships? What is there to gain by believing the hype instead of your gut?

What are your thoughts? Soundoff below!